Everything you need to know to start 5A

This should be the be-all, end all guide to everything you need to know about 5A.

If you notice any problems or questions that aren’t addressed, let me know.

Getting Started

Do I need to buy a special yoyo to play 5A?

Absolutely not. Any yoyo you like will play perfectly fine for 5A.

Where do I get a counterweight?

Most current 5A players use the plastic dice or foam rubber balls that Duncan makes. They are cheap and convenient. There are a few other options though. Recently people have been making homebrew counterweights, and would be more than happy to sell you one. Alternatively, you can make your own.

What if I want to make my own counterweight?
It’s pretty easy to do. All you have to do is find a small object (A die, rubber ball, jaw breaker, etc) that you can drill a hole through the center of. Preferably something that isn’t going to hurt if it hits you and doesn’t have sharp edges. If you want to use a wad of old chewing gum with razer blades in it though, more power to you.

How much should a counterweight weigh?
Honestly, it’s whatever you find comfortable. The red duncan die weighs ~6 grams, and that is what most people are used to.  Some people believe that the weight of the counterweight should be proportional to the weight of the yoyo,  but it’s all personal preference. I think it’s silly, because the Freehands come with a random assortment of dies, balls, and character heads. Not only do they all weigh different amounts, but even different colors of the dice have minute weight differences.

Just experiment and find what you like.

How do I get the counterweight on the string?

Take a piece of string, and your counterweight. (Note: You have to take the string off the yoyo to put the counterweight on and take it off). Take the yoyo end of the string, thread it through the hole in the CW, then thread it through the fingerloop. Tie the string on the yoyo, and you’re ready to go.

Now you’re ready to play

How do I hold this?
There are two main ways to hold and throw a 5A yoyo. I would recommend trying both and finding which is more comfortable.

  1. Grasp the CW firmly with any combination of the middle, ring, and pinky fingers.

  2. Grasp the string directly below the counterweight with the middle, ring, and pinky fingers. The die should be sticking outside your fist, against the pinky.

Regardless of which grip you choose, you should use your thumb and the side and base of your index finger to hold on to the yoyo.

How do I throw this?
The throw is almost the same as it is for 1A, except you’re draping the string over the outer side of your index finger, both side style, and front style.

Great, now how do I catch this?
This gets a bit tricky for beginners, but keep at it and it won’t be a problem.

You want to grasp the counterweight as before, and tug bind the yoyo normally. As it comes up, you want to try to pinch it with the thumb and index finger (and possibly the middle finger) as it lands on the base of your thumb.

It’s incredibly awkward at first, but get used to it, and you’ll be able to throw directly from a catch. Try your best not to get in a bad habit of adjusting the yoyo and CW with your other hand before each throw.

So now I can throw and catch the yoyo. What tricks can I do?

One of the best resources at your disposal is the World Yoyo Contest website. They have highly detailed text descriptions as well as videos for the basic 5A tricks.

The 2004 Compulsory tricklist is, in my opinion, a great place to start.


Once you have a few of those down, feel free to seek out tricks from other years, other tutorials, or your friends.

Great, now I have the basics, where do I go from here?

All that’s left now is for you to learn more tricks, get more comfortable with the yoyo, and perhaps even make up a few new things.

We all get better by watching others, and the BEST way to find out what is new and interesting is to watch contest videos.

I’ve compiled a bunch here


…but I’ll leave you with a few to get you inspired.

This post brought to you by Boxthor x YoYoFactory

Nice post … with smileys :slight_smile: :wink: :smiley: ;D

Addment: You are Box Thor the maker of contest vids right?

Cool FAQ! It will really help some people!

Yep! Thats him

Welcome to YYE Boxy

Boxthor… Do you wear Boxers?


Cool, I just restarted 5a like a day ago with my sick golden CWs…

Never heard of %a, but 5a is cool :wink: :stuck_out_tongue:

Thats a good guide!